Artist and multi-instrumentalist Flaer looks to the landscape to explore pastoral melancholy on debut release, Preludes.
Genre: Ambient/Modern Classical
Label: Odda Recordings
Setting himself parameters to only record onto 4-track tape with acoustic instruments – cello, piano and acoustic guitar – he assembled a suite of instrumental compositions that form the basis of Preludes, his debut album as Flaer and the inaugural release on Odda Recordings.
Channelling the tension and unease between the pastoral idyll of the English countryside and the darkness which lurks beneath the surface, the mini-album draws inspiration from the analogue aesthetic of 1970s folk horror films, weaving field recordings of birdsong, church bells and the natural environment into chimerical melodies that reflect on Heygate’s childhood experiences of rural England.
“It was really important not to isolate the sound from its environment,” he explains, describing the compositional and recording process as “site-specific”. Developed over a series of intuitive musical enquiries, the mini-album’s uncanny quality emerges from combining raw demo takes with overdubs of an almost orchestral grandeur.
Heygate points to the final track as indicative of the work as a whole: “‘Follow’ really is the mantra for the release and embodies the practical approach I was taking to music making: not to force the music but see where it takes you.”
As a painter, Heygate’s practice takes artefacts through sequences of reproduction that embrace the fluctuating materiality of the copy. Since obtaining a degree in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in 2017, he has exhibited solo at Peter von Kant and Springseason galleries in London, and has participated in group shows at Saatchi Gallery, Cob Gallery and Senesi Contemporanea.
Describing his artistic practice as one of self-erasure, music instead provides Heygate with a more personal and autobiographical outlet. Where the two worlds combine is on Preludes’ striking artwork, which features paintings of 13th century stone carvings from the font of the church in the town where he grew up.
Speaking to a time where people were connected to the land in a more profound way, each symbol is assigned to a track on the album, which Heygate likens to giving them a title.
“To add that one juxtaposition might open a whole new interpretation or language that might be hard to find otherwise,” he explains. “Over time it might reveal itself to you, which is why I'm excited about it being released. To throw them out there and see what comes of it.”
As the name suggests, Preludes is just the beginning.
About the artist
Preludes is the first album from pianist, cellist and painter Realf Heygate, under his reversed alter ego Flaer, and the first to be released on Leaf Label's new offshoot, Odda Recordings.
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